Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bringing Fiber Optics to Electronic Components

30.04.2014

Chemist developing next-generation material

Fiber optics increased the speed and quantity of information that can be transmitted through the Internet by transforming electrical signals into pulsating light.


Photo by Eric Landwehr

The thin-film material in assistant professor Cheng Zhang’s hands may be the key to making fiber-optic components for computers and other electronic devices.

The same can be done within laptops and other devices by using organic materials containing chromophore as an active compound, according to South Dakota State University materials chemist Cheng Zhang. Components made from this organic material can provide a larger bandwidth and draw less power.

Zhang began working on electro-optical chromophores while earning his doctorate at the University of Southern California. In 2000, he and chemistry professor Larry Dalton developed the first electro-optical chromophore CLD1. The ‘C’ in the name stands for Cheng, while the LD is for Larry Dalton, he explained. The material was patented by Pacific Wave Communications, LLC, and sold by Sigma Aldrich.

Zhang has continued his work on chromophore since coming to SDSU in 2011 as an assistant professor in the chemistry and biochemistry department through support from the South Dakota Board of Regents.

Microscopic material
To create the material, chromophore—an organic compound that has color—is suspended in a soft yet tough material called a polymer, according to Zhang. A coating of this material is then typically placed on a glass or silicon substrate, much like making solar panels, and then used to make electro-optical devices, he explained. Using a polymer makes the resulting device easier to integrate with electronic circuitry.

The bipolar chromophores Zhang is developing are only 3 nanometers long--barely visible under the best electronic microscope. “The diameter of a human hair is about 20,000 times the length of a bi-polar chromophore,” he noted.

Insulating rings
These bi-polar chromophores act like magnets. When the tiny rods get too close together, they flip and stick together, Zhang explained. An electric field is applied to align the poles in the same direction; however, the more chromophores that are loaded into the material, the more difficult this becomes.

“This fundamental problem limits the concentration of chromophore that can be loaded into the polymer,” Zhang said.

His research work seeks to solve this problem by creating a protective ring around a portion of each rod to keep them apart. This may “prevent the formation of tight aggregates even at the highest concentration,” Zhang said.

He demonstrated this on the first ring-protected chromophore, PCR1, and is applying the strategy to current state-of-the-art chromophores.

Chromophore bleaching
When more rods are packed into the material, a new problem has emerged, according to Zhang. The material becomes too conductive, so when the current is applied to align the dipole, the chromophores burn out and die.

To solve the new problem, Zhang has added more insulating rings. If this effort is successful, the resulting material will have a higher electro-optic activity level, which will improve the material’s performance.

According to the industry standard, electro-optical materials should be able to withstand 185 degrees Fahrenheit for 2,000 hours while maintaining at least 90 percent of the initial activity. Designing this electro-optic material involves a trade-off between its thermal stability and electro-optic activity.

“If you improve one property, the other property gets sacrificed,” he said, “but we have to come up with a novel idea to minimize the trade-off.”

About South Dakota State University
Founded in 1881, South Dakota State University is the state’s Morrill Act land-grant institution as well as its largest, most comprehensive school of higher education. SDSU confers degrees from eight different colleges representing more than 175 majors, minors and specializations. The institution also offers 29 master’s degree programs, 13 Ph.D. and two professional programs.

The work of the university is carried out on a residential campus in Brookings, at sites in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City, and through Cooperative Extension offices and Agricultural Experiment Station research sites across the state.

Cheng Zhang | newswise
Further information:
http://www.sdstate.edu

Further reports about: Electronic LLC SDSU chromophore concentration initial materials

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Novel sensors could enable smarter textiles
17.08.2018 | University of Delaware

nachricht Quantum material is promising 'ion conductor' for research, new technologies
17.08.2018 | Purdue University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>